Dr. Geisler on the Danger of Drinking Alcohol

Far and away the most popular post here at pastorbrett.com, receiving up to 2,000 hits per week, has been “Should a Christian Drink Alcohol?” In that post I list 21 reasons why I believe it is wise for a Christian to totally abstain from the use of alcohol as a beverage. I recently came across this presentation from Dr. Norman Geisler titled “To Drink or Not Drink: A Sober Look at the Question.” He makes some strong points which I hope you will consider. See the presentation HERE.

Worship on Earth as it is in Heaven by Rory Noland

Rory Noland could pass for a retired race jockey; he is probably 135 lbs. dripping wet. A soft-spoken and unassuming personality, Rory is also one of greatest minds on worship in America today. Through attending Harvest University, I’ve had the privilege of sitting under Rory in several sessions over the last few years and have gleaned much about leading God’s people in corporate worship. So, almost needless to say, my expectations were pretty high when I picked up his latest book on the subject. He did not disappoint. Especially insightful was the section on training your congregation to pursue “heroic deference” when it comes to worship styles and preferences. Good stuff. I also got a copy for Ryan and he has been working his way through it as well; I look forward to our discussions.

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell


A few years ago I enjoyed Gladwell’s first offering, Tipping Point. I’ve also spent a considerable amount of time standing in bookstores reading selected portions of his third book, Outliers. But although I knew the thesis of Blink and although it has been sitting on my home bookshelf for maybe a year or so, it took me awhile to get around to picking it up and having a go at it. Delay no more. I picked it up yesterday and finished it today. I’m not surprised I read it this quickly. Gladwell is a captivating writer, seeming to be able to mine some of the greatest stories that advance the theory underlying his book.

Continue reading Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Tim Challies on the Beauty of the Language in the ESV

A few days ago I posted a negative critique on a translation decision in the ESV. Today I want to emphasize how much I love reading the ESV, pointing to an excellent post by Tim Challies on the beauty of the language found in the ESV. He compares some Old Testament phrases in the ESV with how they are translated in some of the more functional translations. The NIV (1984 edition), by the way, does well, in his brief comparison study. You can read his post HERE.

The Danger of Lionizing the Living

Commissioner Jim Delany announced recently that former Penn State coach Joe Paterno’s name would be removed from the Big Ten Football Championship trophy.

For the first time in its storied history, the Big Ten will feature a championship game to cap off the regular season. The trophy to be awarded to the winner of that game had been named the Stagg-Paterno Trophy, but now it will just be the Stagg Trophy, according to the Big Ten commissioner.

The story of the removal of Paterno’s name from the trophy is really just a footnote in terms of its importance in the ongoing saga of the Penn State scandal. But it is also a poignant symbolic reminder of the epic fall of Paterno in the public’s eye because of the epic fail in his leadership in private some nine years ago, and perhaps going back even further.

Read the rest of my latest BP Sports column HERE.

They Missed it Again – The ESV Missed it on James 4:4 in the Latest Update

“They” refers to the ESV Translation Committee.

My small group is going through the DVD series “God is the Gospel” by John Piper. In session 2, Dr. Piper talks about how the proper translation of μοιχαλίς (moy-khal-is’) in James 4.4 is “adulteresses” because (a) the word in the Greek is feminine and (b) the word picture in the passage is of the church as the bride being unfaithful to God as the husband. Yet the ESV translates the word “adulterous people.” The NIV also gets it wrong.

The HCSB, NASB, and ASV get it right:

4 Adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? (HCSB)

4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? (NASB)

4 Ye adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? (ASV)

Piper, a friend to all who are on the ESV Committee, contacted Wayne Grudem about the mistake. Grudem agreed with Piper. Piper then suggested that when an update would come out, it would surely be fixed.

It was not fixed. On a recent post I linked to the list of changes in the latest (2011) update of the ESV. Disappointingly, and surprising to me, James 4.4 remains the same.

I’d love to get an explanation why.

Reflections on Reading the KJV

Last week I completed my reading of the King James Bible. My brief reflections:

1. At times it is amazingly poetic and beautiful. On more than one occasion I thought, “You just cannot improve upon that way of wording it!”

2. At times it is remarkably archaic and difficult. Several times I would have to reread a passage or phrase or consult a dictionary. A few rare times I would sigh and think, “I can’t wait until I finish this project and return to the ESV.”

3. At all times it is inspiring and profitable. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3.16-17).

All in all, I’m VERY glad I took on the challenge of reading the KJV on its 400th anniversary.

ESV Translation Gets An Update

Some people may not be aware that modern Bible translations are sometimes updated. For example…

In 2006 the NLT was updated. And in 2009, the HCSB. In both cases, there was very little fanfare. In fact, I would wager a guess that the average devout Christian had no idea these updates even occurred.

This year two popular versions received updates. First, the NIV. Unlike the HCSB and NLT updates, the NIV was less of a tweaking and more of an overhaul. It’s practically a new version altogether. I recommend sticking with your 1984 edition.

Now the ESV has received its update. Compared to the NIV, these update are very minor. You can see the “tweaking” HERE.